Type I eclogites from Roberts Victor kimberlites: Products of extensive mantle metasomatism

Yoann Gréau*, Jin Xiang Huang, William L. Griffin, Christophe Renac, Olivier Alard, Suzanne Y. O'reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Type I and Type II eclogite xenoliths from the Roberts Victor kimberlite (South Africa) show marked differences in terms of microstructures, mineralogy, major- and trace-element compositions and oxygen-isotope compositions. The unequilibrated microstructures of Type I eclogites, their typical accessory assemblages (phologopite, diamond, sulphides, fluid inclusions) and the ubiquitous presence of "melt pockets" in garnets provide strong evidence of metasomatism. Type II eclogites systematically lack such features and are microstructurally more equilibrated. Type I eclogites are more magnesium-rich than most Type II (mean Mg#=0.56 vs. 0.46), while Type II eclogites are generally more Ca-rich (mean CaO=9 vs. 12wt%) and Fe-rich (mean FeO=10 vs. 12wt%). Type I eclogites are systematically enriched in LREE, Sr, Ba, alkali elements, HFSE, Th and U compared to the more depleted Type II eclogites. Calculated trace-element patterns of fluids in equilibrium with Type I eclogites are closely similar to those of volatile-rich small-volume mantle melts in the carbonatite-kimberlite spectrum commonly inferred to be responsible for mantle metasomatism. Although oxygen isotopes are often used to argue for a subduction origin of mantle eclogites, correlations between δ18O of garnet and typical metasomatic tracers suggest that the metasomatic process also has shifted the oxygen-isotope compositions of the Type I eclogites toward heavier values. Roberts Victor Type I eclogites thus carry the imprint of a metasomatic process that strongly modified their major-element, trace-element and isotopic compositions, while the more pristine Type II eclogites escaped this modification. Therefore, attempts to constrain the origin of Roberts Victor eclogites should not be based on the much more abundant Type I eclogites, which retain little geochemical memory of their protoliths. The most suitable materials for such investigations may be the less metasomatised, but more rare, Type II eclogites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6927-6954
Number of pages28
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2011


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